According to court records, the co-founder of a homeless charity that operates two tiny home villages for homeless people siphoned off thousands from the charity.

  The man will spend 2 months in jail plus paying back money

The man, identified as 67-year-old James Lee Peterson, will spend 60 days in jail and have to pay back $47,000 in costs and fines, according the Bellingham Herald and

The non-profit he stole from was called Homes NOW! Not Later, and he was reportedly a co-founder. Court records show he stole $75,000 from the charity from June 2017 to September 2019, during the first two years it was in operation.

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The charity operates the two tiny home villages called Unity Village and Swift Haven in Bellingham. His guilty plea and sentence come early five years after he was first arrested in November of 2019.

Because of largely COVID-related issues, his case was continued 27 times before finally being adjudicated. He had made withdrawals from numerous ATM machine and even banks from the charity's accounts. Prosecutors said there were no legitimate reasons for his withdrawals during that period.

Officials with the organization now say a number of new protocols have been put in place to prevent further such issues.

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Gallery Credit: Isabel Sepulveda


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